Journal Article

Regional Genetic Structuring and Evolutionary History of the Impala <i>Aepyceros melampus</i>

Eline D. Lorenzen, Peter Arctander and Hans R. Siegismund

in Journal of Heredity

Published on behalf of American Genetic Association

Volume 97, issue 2, pages 119-132
Published in print March 2006 | ISSN: 0022-1503
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1465-7333 | DOI:
Regional Genetic Structuring and Evolutionary History of the Impala Aepyceros melampus

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Samples of 162 impala antelope (Aepyceros melampus) from throughout its distribution range in sub-Saharan Africa were surveyed using eight polymorphic microsatellite loci. Furthermore, 155 previously published mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences from the same localities were reanalyzed. Two subspecies of impala are presently recognized—the isolated black-faced impala (Aepyceros melampus petersi) in southwest Africa and the common impala (Aepyceros melampus melampus) abundant in southern and east Africa. All tests performed indicated significant genetic differentiation at the subspecific level. Furthermore, individual-based analyses split the common impala subspecies into two distinct genetic groups, conforming with regional geographic affiliation to southern or east Africa. This was supported by assignment tests, genetic distance measures, pairwise θ values, and analysis of molecular variance. We suggest that the presence of such previously unknown regional structuring within the subspecies reflects a pattern of colonization from a formerly large panmictic population in southern Africa toward east Africa. This scenario was supported by a progressive decline in population diversity indices toward east Africa and a significant increase in the quantity θ/(1 − θ). Both microsatellite and mtDNA data indicated a genetic distinctiveness of the Samburu population in Kenya.

Journal Article.  8974 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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